This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Adaptable spaces

Healthy work environments should be designed to mitigate stress and optimize productivity, and should therefore be sufficiently adaptable to working, focusing, collaborating and resting as needed. Research demonstrates that the presence of a variety of workspaces that enable individuals to adjust their environments and choose the degrees of engagement is associated with job satisfaction and group cohesiveness.

Part 1: Stimuli Management

Seating and spatial layouts are organized into separate workplace zones and provide differing degrees of sensory engagement. Regularly occupied spaces of 186 m² [2,000 ft²] or larger provide documentation of methods used to establish appropriate zones based on the below guidelines:

a. A programing plan is developed, using data from interviews, surveys, focus groups and observational research, to establish the organization’s culture, work patterns, work processes and space utilization.
b. Annotated floor plans incorporate research data to establish work zones that support a variety of work functions.
c. Designated quiet zones are provided as enclosable or semi-enclosable rooms with no more than 3 seats per room.
d. Designated collaboration zones are provided as enclosable or semi-enclosable rooms with no less than 3 seats and at minimum one visual vertical surface area for communicating ideas or work.
Part 2: Privacy

Areas greater than 1,860 m² [20,000 ft²] provide a designated quiet space for focus, contemplation and relaxation, which meets the following requirements:

a. Space is at minimum 7 m² [75 ft²] plus 0.1 m² [1 ft²] per regular building occupant, up to a maximum of 74 m² [800 ft²].
b.183 Ambient lighting provides continuously dimmable light levels at 2,700 K or less.
c. Noise Criteria (NC) from mechanical systems is 30 or lower.
d. A plan is developed that includes a description of how the project incorporates two of the following elements into the space: (i) plant wall and/or floor plantings, (ii) audio device with nature sounds, (iii) variety of seating arrangements.
Part 3: Space Management

To minimize clutter and maintain a comfortable, well-organized environment, minimal storage requirements are addressed through the provision of one of the following:

a. A workstation cabinet at a minimum volume of 0.1 m³ [4 ft³] for each regular occupant.
b. A personal locker at a minimum volume of 0.1 m³ [4 ft³] for each regular occupant.
Part 4: Workplace Sleep Support

Short naps are an effective and healthy means for improving mental and physical acuity, even more so than caffeine, which can disrupt sleep. At least one of the following furniture options must be provided for the first 30 regular building occupants and an additional one for every 100 regular building occupants thereafter:

a. Couch.
b. Cushioned roll-out mat.
c. Sleep pod.
d. Fully reclining chair.
e. Hammock.

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Stimuli Management - O O
Part 2: Privacy - O O
Part 3: Space Management - O O
Part 4: Workplace Sleep Support - O O
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 1: Stimuli Management - O - - -
Part 2: Privacy - O - - O
Part 3: Space Management - - - - O

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Stimuli Management Architect Spot Check
Part 2: Privacy Architect Spot Check
Part 3: Space Management Owner Spot Check
Part 4: Workplace Sleep Support Owner Spot Check

The Society of Light and Lighting. Lighting for the Built Environment - Lighting Guide 13: Lighting for Places of Worship. England: The Lavenham Press; 2014.


CIBSE’s Lighting Guide 13: Lighting for Places of Worship notes that lamps with a correlated color temperature of 2700-3000 K for congregation spaces can help these spaces feel psychologically "warmer".